Arcata Fish and Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region
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Northern California hosts a diverse array of amphibians and reptiles. For the purpose of this webpage, northern California represents counties north of the 38º parallel, or north of the cities of San Francisco, Stockton and Sonora. The species encountered here exist in a myriad of habitats, from large river systems to headwater streams, from coastal ponds to high elevation lakes, under logs and rocks or basking in open sun. You may encounter these animals in your travels and this webpage may assist you in identification of which species you have seen.
The study of amphibians and reptiles is called herpetology, and amphibians and reptiles are often collectively referred to as "herps". Many species are facing challenges to their existence due to several human-made problems. These include, but are not limited to: Loss of habitat; increase risk from exotic species; emerging diseases, exposure to contaminants; illegal collection for trade or food consumption; and exposure to increased levels of ultra-violet radiation attributed to thinning ozone layers. There may even be interactions between these problems that have a synergistic effect on amphibians and reptiles (e.g. exposure to pesticides may decrease immune functions and make species more susceptible to disease outbreaks). Being able to recognize what species of herps you have in your area is the first step in considering conservation measures to protect this unique group of animals.
Related Links
arrow bullet California Reptiles and Amphibians
arrow bullet U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service - Division of Environmental Quality - Amphibian Declines and Deformities
arrow bullet Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge
Reports and Publications
arrow bullet Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge 2004 Northern Red-Legged Frog Malformation Report (AFWO-TR08-04) - James Bettaso
Click on any of the links below to view the full-sized image
Please Note: This is not a comprehensive list of northern California species.
Frogs and Toads
Frogs & Toads
- Family Hylidae -
- Family Bufonidae -  
- Family Ranidae -
Click on any link to view the full-sized image
- Family Pelobatidae -
Foothill Yellow-legged Frog (juvenile)
- Family Ascaphidae -

Last updated: April 16, 2015